Daily Kickoff: Midterm candidates vying for Jewish voters | Congress to consider bipartisan bill to invest in Palestinian economy | The Two Princes


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ROAD TO THE MIDTERMS — GOP overwhelmed by Democratic cash ― by Alex Isenstadt: “The disparity is almost certain to grow, as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg makes good on plans to spend nearly $80 million to help Democrats flip the House… Desperate for help, Republicans are turning to their go-to benefactor: Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. The 85-year-old ally of President Donald Trump has made another contribution in the range of $20 million to the House GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC… Party leaders are hopeful he’ll fork over even more.” [Politico]

Top Hollywood Execs Give Overwhelmingly to Democrats for Midterms — by Jeremy Barr: “The biggest Hollywood donations went almost all to Democrats. The Senate Majority PAC was the primary recipient, with HBO host Bill Maher ($1 million)… Endeavor executives Ari Emanuel ($100,000) and Patrick Whitesell ($100,000) making major donations… Directors have been among Hollywood’s most prolific donors, including Steven Spielberg ($549,000) and J.J. Abrams ($347,500)… Veteran executive Jeffrey Katzenberg has given $1,116,300 so far.”[HollywoodReporter]

Texas Senate — Ted Cruz hammers at Beto O’Rourke, fundraising during Houston rally — by Jasper Scherer: “With early voting 10 days away, Cruz warned the crowd of O’Rourke’s fundraising, calling it “dangerous.” “That is the most money ever raised in a single quarter in any Senate race in the history of the country,” Cruz said, as mentions of “George Soros” and “Mexican money” fluttered through the crowd.”[HoustonChronicle]

— “Cruz said that in their second televised debate, set for Tuesday night in San Antonio, he intends to keep highlighting differences with O’Rourke, especially on foreign policy issues such as support for Israel.” [DallasNews] • Max Blankfield breaks down Cruz and Beto on Israel [ToI]

Nevada Senate — President Trump will hold a campaign rally in Elko, Nevada, to boost Sen. Dean Heller’s campaign in a closely-watched race against race Democratic candidate Jacky Rosen. The latest poll shows Heller leading Rosen by 2 points.

Virginia Senate — Kaine and Stewart vie for Jewish support at forum — by Antonio Olivo: “Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and his Republican challenger, Corey A. Stewart, vied for support from Jewish voters on Sunday at a candidate forum that covered ­anti-Semitism, U.S.-Israel relations… The forum at the Congregation Olam Tikvah synagogue in Fairfax County came a week after a vandal spray-painted swastikas on the walls of the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia.”

Kaine: “There’s a false narrative about Charlottesville that it was about [Confederate] statues, but when you really hear what people were chanting, there’s nothing about statues that makes you want to chant something out of a Nazi youth rally,” Kaine said in a dig at Stewart for attracting support from white nationalists by championing the preservation of Confederate monuments in Virginia.”

Stewart: Stewart… argued that anti-Semitism exists on both sides of the political aisle. Stewart said the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement… has been championed by progressives in the United States who harbor anti-Semitic beliefs. “It’s not just anti-Israeli, it’s an anti-Semitic movement,” he said.” [WashPost

Virginia 05: The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) launched a $300K television and digital ad campaign this week against Democratic House candidate Leslie Cockburn in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, which includes the Charlottesville area. The ad, entitled “dinner,” highlights Cockburn’s recollection of having dinner with Saddam Hussein sons and midnight tea with Muammar Gaddafi while she was a journalist for Vanity Fair in her 1998 memoir, and her 1991 book, Dangerous Liaison, under scrutiny for its criticism of Israel. The Virginia Republican Party also released a new attack ad claiming that Cockburn “hates” Israel.

J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami in a letter to the NYT editor: “While focusing on a handful of Democratic candidates who have faced heavy right-wing criticism for their positions on Israel, [the NYTimes] article misses the larger evolution in American politics on the issue. Instead of relying on the outdated idea that support for Israelis and Palestinians must be mutually exclusive, a growing majority of Democratic candidates increasingly recognize that it is possible and necessary to promote policies, like the two-state solution…” [NYT]

Rep. Ted Deutch writes… “A new Democratic House majority will continue our historic support for Israel: Many Democratic Members of Congress, myself included, are helping to educate our potential colleagues, especially those without previous foreign policy experience, about the deep bond between the United States and Israel – from shared security concerns to the vibrant democracies in both countries that welcome voices from across the political spectrum.” [ToI]

Pennsylvania 01 — Brian Fitzpatrick, Scott Wallace face off in first district debate — by James Boyle: “Republican incumbent Brian Fitzpatrick and Democratic challenger Scott Wallace shared a stage for the first time at Shir Ami synagogue… Some common ground was found between the candidates on a handful of issues brought up by moderator Josh Runyan, editor of the Jewish Exponent. They agreed that a two-state solution is the best answer for the Israel-Palestine conflict…” [TheIntelligencer]

Iowa 04 — Iowa newspaper endorses Democrat because GOP congressman spends all his time on ‘neo-Nazis’ and ‘fascists’: “Iowa’s largest and most influential newspaper, The Des Moines Register, slammed Republican Representative Steve King in a scathing editorial… The editorial read, in part: “This one’s a no-brainer for any Iowan who has cringed at eight-term incumbent King’s increasing obsession with being a cultural provocateur… He won’t debate his opponent and rarely holds public town halls. Instead, he spends his time meeting with fascist leaders in Europe and retweeting neo-Nazis.” [Newsweek]

Super PAC led by Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn slams King in a new TV ad: “He’s a hero, declares the neo-Nazi Stormfront website,” says the narrator. “God bless Steve King, says former KKK grand wizard David Duke.” [WashPost]

FL GOV — DeSantis surrogate suggests Gillum would veto security funds for Jewish day schools — by David Smiley: “The battle for Jewish voters in the race for Florida governor escalated another notch Sunday when the Jewish outreach chairman for GOP nominee Ron DeSantis… Randy Fine, the only Republican Jewish lawmaker in the Florida Legislature… suggested that Democrat Andrew Gillum might ignore a relatively new law banning the state government from doing business with companies that support a boycott of the nation of Israel. And then Fine mentioned that, over the past two years, the state of Florida has allocated $2.65 million to fund security at Jewish day schools.”

“DeSantis, meanwhile, said his wife bottled water from the Sea of Galilee during her last trip to Israel and saved it for their daughter’s baptism… DeSantis mentioned that he’s been working to increase school security with Andrew Pollack, the Jewish father of a slain Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student… And he said that traveling to Israel for the dedication of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem after lobbying the president to make the move was perhaps the greatest accomplishment of his professional career. “As soon as I take the oath of office, that very day, we’ll have the most pro-Israel governor in the country,” DeSantis said.” [MiamiHeraldSunSentinel]

MD GOV — Incumbent Governor Larry Hogan addressed Agudath Israel of Maryland last night [Pic] • Gov. Hogan and His Democratic Rival, Ben Jealous, Discuss Md.-Israel Ties [JMore]

Dallas Jewish groups say John Wiley Price political ad comparing Trump to Hitler ‘cheapens our political process’ — by Julieta Chiquillo: “Several Jewish groups on Friday scolded Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price for sending a political mailer equating President Donald Trump with Adolf Hitler. The Dallas-area organizations said that bringing up the Nazi leader for anything other than education or in reference to the Holocaust was “highly inappropriate and offensive.”[DallasNews]

HAPPENING TODAY — Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle will address the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual California Bash held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles. Christians United for Israel’s Pastor John Hagee is also on the list of featured speakers.

2020 WATCH — Bloomberg’s New Hampshire event fuels White House bid talk — by Paul Steinhauser: “[Mike] Bloomberg was the main attraction at the get-out-the-vote rally for six candidates running for New Hampshire’s state House of Representatives… Bloomberg’s trip came just days after he re-registered as a Democrat… Asked by The Associated Press if he has any timetable for deciding on a presidential bid, he said “right now I’m focused on November 6, plain and simple.” But he added that after the midterm elections, “we’ll see what happens down the road.” [YahooNews]

Bloomberg fans rumors about presidential run — by Emily Ngo: “I never considered him to be a Democrat or Republican or independent. I considered him to be Mike Bloomberg,” Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said… [Hank] Sheinkopf said Bloomberg’s anti-gun and pro-environment stances appeal to younger voters, and his announcement via social media helps in “obliterating the age question.” Sheinkopf also said Bloomberg’s ability to move between party lines may draw support from voters turned off by hyper-partisanship.” [Newsday]

DRIVING THE CONVO — The alleged murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi caused a rift between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Yesterday, the Saudi kingdom blasted President Trump for promising “severe punishment” if the royal court was responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance. However, Trump emphasized that “we would be punishing ourselves” if the U.S. would curtail its weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) said yesterday that Congress will act swiftly and unanimously if it turns out Saudi Arabia was behind the incident.

Ben Rhodes writes… “A Fatal Abandonment of American Leadership: Beyond Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, and Jerusalem, the [U.S.] withdrawal [from the Iran deal] was universally opposed around the world… However, MBS—it seemed—had succeeded in shaping events; instead of incremental pushback from an American president, he was in the driver’s seat, with an American president riding shotgun, and powerful American interests along for the ride… In his approach to MBS, Trump acts as if the Saudis are the stronger partner in the relationship, not like the superpower that we are.”[TheAtlantic]

Reality Breaks Up a Saudi Prince Charming’s Media Narrative — by Jim Rutenberg: “Eager journalists captured him at Starbucks with Michael R. Bloomberg, strolling the Google grounds with Sergey Brin and dining with Rupert Murdoch. Built into the narrative was a mostly cheerful acceptance of the story Crown Prince Mohammed was selling about himself — that here, at last, was the modern Middle Eastern leader the West had been waiting for… And suddenly the “M.B.S.” moniker took on a grim new meaning among the plugged-in set of Washington: Mister Bone Saw.” [NYTimes]

Two princes: Kushner now faces a reckoning for Trump’s bet on the heir to the Saudi throne — by Philip Rucker, Carol Leonnig and Anne Gearan: “Kushner was not briefed about the [Saudi] plot before Khashoggi’s disappearance… It would not be automatic for a senior White House adviser to be briefed on every new piece of intelligence in a region, unless officials decided it needed to be elevated to his or her attention… Kushner declined to comment on his relationship with Mohammed. His defenders say he has been realistic about Mohammed’s power and unafraid to chide the prince privately when he disagrees with his tactics but still believes there are long-term benefits in maintaining a close relationship.”

“One senior U.S. intelligence official said that Kushner has come under the influence of Mohammed’s simplistic view of power dynamics in the Middle East. “MBS has an elevator pitch,” this official said, that Kushner has bought into: Iran is the main enemy and the single obstacle to peace and stability in the Middle East… Kushner privately argued for months last year that Mohammed would be key to crafting a Middle East peace plan, arguing that, with the prince’s blessing, much of the Arab world would follow.”

“The Jared-MBS relationship revolves around the Middle East peace process, and the hope that Jared had for the Israeli-Palestinian issue,” said Gerald Feierstein, a former U.S. ambassador to Yemen and former senior State Department official who is now policy director at the Middle East Institute… But, Feierstein said, “MBS for his own reasons has played along and given the administration reason to believe that the Saudis will do more than I believe they ever will.” [WashPost]

Trump tweets this morning: “Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened “to our Saudi Arabian citizen.” He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer. I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!”

HEARD YESTERDAY — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the detention of U.S. student and alleged BDS activist Lara Alqasem during remarks at the Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem: “Every country and every democracy and many democracies have special arrangements where they decide who to let in and who not to let it. If you come in and you are virulently against America and you try to come to the United States, there’s a good chance you won’t be let in if people know that in advance.”

Israeli PM Favors Naming Envoy to Christian World: “[Netanyahu] says he favors appointing an envoy to the Christian world, a sign of Israel’s efforts to foster close ties with its Christian allies… “A great alliance with the evangelicals is something we do not apologize for,” Netanyahu said. “We have no better friends in the world.” [AP]

ON THE HILL — U.S. Lawmakers Pushing Bipartisan Bill to Invest in Palestinian Economy — by Amir Tibon: “The legislation calls for the establishment of a “Palestinian Partnership Fund” that will “promote joint economic development and finance joint ventures between Palestinian entrepreneurs and companies in the United States, Israel, and countries in the Middle East.” … The legislation was originally sponsored by four senators: Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Democrats Tim Kaine of Virginia and Chris Coons of Delaware. A similar bill is being promoted in the House by Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Nita Lowey (D-NY).” [HaaretzWalla]

At West Bank Factories, Keeping the Peace Is a Mutual Interest — by Isabel Kershner: “The West Bank industrial zones offer industrialists cheaper rent than in central Israel, among other incentives. And for the roughly 3,300 Palestinians who work in Barkan, the appeal is clear. They are treated equally in the workplace, earning the same salaries and benefits as their Israeli counterparts under Israeli law… Most Palestinians working at Barkan make more in overtime, and some become floor or shift managers. The Palestinian Authority disapproves of Palestinians working in the settlements but has not tried to stop them…” [NYTimes]

White House considers 2 female ambassadors to replace Haley at U.N. — by Eliana Johnson, Daniel Lippman and Gabby Orr: “The White House is adding two high-profile women, both confirmed ambassadors, to the list of candidates to succeed Nikki Haley at the United Nations, according to two senior administration officials: Jamie McCourt and Kelly Knight Craft… McCourt, the American ambassador to France and Monaco, is a former corporate attorney and CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers.” [Politico]

** Good Monday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: As Annapurna Stumbles, Billionaire Larry Ellison Exerts Control [Variety] • Jared Kushner Paid No Federal Income Tax for Years, Documents Suggest [NYTimes] • Inside the jaw-dropping plans for Roman Abramovich’s mega-mansion, Manhattan’s biggest single-family home[NYPost] • Showtime Chief David Nevins in Talks for Expanded CBS Role[Variety] • Sears files for bankruptcy; Eddie Lampert steps down as CEO[CNBC] • Jackie Soffer and Jeffrey Soffer may be on opposing sides in campaigns for and against a Miami Beach hotel referendum vote on Nov. 6 [TheRealDeal] • Marc Benioff’s backing, donation for Prop. C came following late-night Twitter interaction with bookstore owner [MissionLocal]

STARTUP NATION — Skyline Robotics Raises $3M To Automate Dangerous Window Cleaning For Skyscrapers — by Danielle Shapira: “A pair of  Israeli entrepreneurs Avi Abadi and Yaron Schwarcz have raised $3M to automate the risky job of cleaning windows on skyscrapers… Skyline Robotics’ solution is Ozmo, a robot for real estate maintenance at heights.” [Forbes]

SPOTLIGHT — With its subscription service, the company has created an unusual hybrid of fast fashion and luxury. Will it stop you from buying new clothes? — by Alexandra Schwartz: “[Jennifer] Hyman founded Rent the Runway in 2008 with Jenny Fleiss, while both were in their second year at Harvard Business School… By the end of this year, Rent the Runway will offer fifteen thousand styles by more than five hundred designers, with a total inventory of eight hundred thousand units, stored in what Hyman calls “the closet in the cloud.” [NewYorker]

MEDIA WATCH — Peter Rice, Fox’s Un-Hollywood TV Boss, Is Getting More Say Over What You Watch — by John Koblin and Brooks Barnes: “Disney’s announcement of Mr. Rice’s new job specified that he will report directly to Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive. For the first time in his career, Mr. Rice’s boss will be someone other than a Murdoch. The appointment also means his name is very likely to be bandied about in one of Hollywood’s favorite parlor games: Who will run the Magic Kingdom when Mr. Iger’s contract comes to an end in three years?”[NYTimes]

Netflix Nabs Israeli Drama ‘When Heroes Fly’ — by Rhonda Richford: “Netflix has picked up global rights to When Heroes Fly, the Hebrew-language drama from Keshet International… The drama follows four veterans of an Israeli military commando unit from the 2006 Lebanon war who reunited to rescue the girlfriend of one of the commandos following her abduction by a cartel in the Colombian jungle.” [HollywoodReporter]

PROFILE — Ian Schrager on Studio 54: The Documentary — by Carl Swanson: “After all, Schrager was the one who made chic lifestyle hotels out of onetime dowdy fleabags… and built starchitected condos (Herzog & de Meuron designed both 40 Bond, where he lives, with its graffiti-inspired fence out front, and 160 Leroy, where apartments are selling for $4,000 a square foot) and now those Edition hotels with Marriott. Not to mention his Public hotel, also designed by Herzog, which looms over the Whole Foods building on Chrystie Street just south of Houston, a flawless temple to up-to-the-minute global bling. He was so determined to make sure the concrete floor was just right in the lobby, that he had it jackhammered up twice and redone.”[Vulture]

Israel crowns 93-year-old as ‘Miss Holocaust Survivor’: “A 93-year-old great-grandmother was crowned “Miss Holocaust Survivor” on Sunday in an annual Israeli beauty pageant designed to put a smile on women who endured the horrors of the Nazi genocide… “I’m very happy. It’s something special,” said the new Miss Holocaust Survivor, Polish-born Tova Ringer, who lost her parents, four sisters and a grandmother in Auschwitz death camp.” [Reuters]

Rabbanit Hadas “Dasi” Fruchter of Congregation Beth Sholom in Potomac, Maryland featured on NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today: “People walk up to me, even today, and let me know that they are uncomfortable with what they are doing… I did see people walk out as I got up to give the sermon,” Fruchter tells Kelly. “Despite continuing waves of protests, Dasi joined the clergy and slowly won over members of her congregation,” Kelly notes. [Video]

DEEP DIVE — Ivanka Trump’s Gurus Say Their Techniques Can End War and Make You Fly ― by Justin Rohrlich: “[Bob] Roth is perhaps the best-known public facing TM (Transcendental Meditation) representative in the world; he’s the one who introduced it to [Jerry] Seinfeld… and Ivanka and Jared… Roth lives in New York but travels constantly. When he’s in town, Roth works out of the David Lynch Foundation’s midtown offices near the United Nations… Roth is surprisingly accessible, extremely accommodating, and checks in often to ask how things are going… He makes mention of the fact that he’s Jewish more than once over the course of multiple conversations… Roth believes it would be nothing short of foolhardy if society didn’t give the Maharishi Effect a chance. “What are we going to do in the Middle East? It’s getting worse and worse and worse,” he said… “Nothing is working. So this is being offered as something completely out-of-the-box, just like meditation for the individual was 50 years ago.” [DailyBeast]

SIGHTING ― Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Avi Berkowitz and kids from Jared and Ivanka’s son Joseph’s class were spotted at the Chuck E. Cheese’s in Takoma Park, Maryland yesterday to celebrate Joseph’s birthday. [Pic] h/t Playbook

TALK OF THE TOWN — Brutal bias attack in middle of Brooklyn street caught on video — by Reuven Fenton, Ben Feuerherd and Aaron Feis: “Harrowing surveillance footage shows the assailant towering over the victim in the middle of an intersection, grabbing him from behind, and repeatedly punching him in the side of the head… The victim, who is Jewish, suffered a split lip and a cut to the tongue before the assault was broken up.” [NYPostFox61]

He Wanted to Be an Informant. The F.B.I. Arrested Him Instead — by Benjamin Weiser: “Nearly a year after the McDonald’s meeting, [Ali] Kourani changed his mind and offered to assist the F.B.I. confidentially in return for what he believed to be a promise of immunity from prosecution and help with a family matter. He told agents in a series of five interviews that for years he had been a “sleeper” operative for Hezbollah… Rather than being rewarded, however, Mr. Kourani, 34, was arrested and now is awaiting trial in Manhattan on federal terrorism charges.” [NYTimes

DESSERT — A Restaurant Guide’s Ethnocentric Take on Israeli Cuisine — by Ronit Vered: “The 2018 Gault & Millau restaurant guide to Israel has chalked up a dubious achievement. It has laid bare the convoluted language that has become standard for the Israeli food world. Hebrew has never sounded worse than in this volume’s description of 143 restaurants, replete with syntax and proofreading errors and laden with superfluous adjectives that ridiculously personify raw ingredients and foods.” [Haaretz]

REMEMBERING — Real-Estate Mogul Made the Deal of a Lifetime for 16th Century Map of the World: “Though he once described himself as “just a little mortgage peddler from Hoboken,” Jay Kislak’s interests ranged well beyond real-estate finance. He held his 95th birthday party on an aircraft carrier. He once nearly bought the fossil of a Tyrannosaurus rex at an auction. He later succeeded in negotiating with a German prince to buy a 1516 map of the world. Mr. Kislak then donated the map along with other documents and artifacts to the Library of Congress… “He was always curious,” said his son Jonathan, “and there was always one more thing.” Mr. Kislak died Oct. 3 at his home in Miami. He was 96.” [WSJ]

David Wolkowsky Rehabbed Key West, Fla., and Helped Keep It Weird — by James Hagerty: “David William Wolkowsky was born Aug. 25, 1919, in Key West, where his grandfather, Abraham Wolkowsky, an immigrant from Russia, had established a clothing store. When David was four, the family moved to Miami, and his father operated a men’s clothing store there… During World War II, he served as an officer in the merchant marine and survived the sinking of one ship hit by a torpedo en route to Murmansk, Russia. After the war, he briefly worked at the Lord & Taylor department store in New York and then moved to Philadelphia. There he discovered a knack for buying decrepit homes for negligible sums and renovating them for sale to wealthy buyers.”[WSJ

BIRTHDAYS: Real estate developer and owner of MLB’s Washington Nationals, Ted Lerner turns 93… Media mogul, major donor to the Democratic Party and producer of Power Rangers, Haim Saban turns 74… Founder of global investment firm, Kenneth Griffin turns 5-0… Retired from the Los Angeles County Superior Court in 1996, he is a mediator and arbitrator, Judge Jack Newman turns 79… Vice Chairman of the US Federal Reserve (2014-2017), after an 8 year term at the helm of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer turns 75… Miami mental health counselor, Mindy Hersh, Ph.D. turns 63… Former press secretary for Mike Bloomberg at City Hall, now a political communications strategist, Stu Loeser turns 45… Born in Tunisia and raised in Paris, owner of Los Angeles’s Harissa Restaurant, Alain Cohen turns 63… Founder and CEO of Refinement Services, Neil Kugelman turns 58… Director of Asian Initiatives at Jersey City-based Mana Contemporary, a contemporary arts organization with satellite facilities in Chicago and Miami, Heiko Stoiber


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